‘Stop encouraging crony-capitalism’
Srinagar: National Conference on Friday expressed disappointment at the continued apathy of the State Government towards young entrepreneurs of the State and said the Government’s arrogance and shameless patronage to crony capitalism was pushing thousands of young entrepreneurs against the wall.
NC State Spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu met a delegation of young entrepreneurs who called on him on Friday and said there was a pervasive atmosphere of crony-capitalism engulfing the State’s economy as public institutions had practically become economic wings of the PDP.
“A young entrepreneur takes on unimaginable risks in a strife-torn State like J&K to add economic value and jobs in the system. First generation entrepreneurs who don’t come from established business platforms and backgrounds are the engines of growth and deserve encouragement and facilitation from the system. Rather than being encouraged, these young entrepreneurs are being persecuted and humiliated in our government departments and institutions where a select list of crony capitalists close to the powers that be are calling the shots. There is open collusion between certain businessmen and the ruling dispensation and the Chief Minister is personally encouraging this collusion”, the NC State Spokesperson said in a statement after meeting a delegation of young entrepreneurs from the Valley in Srinagar.
Mattu said there were brazen instances of collusion between some business houses, contractors and Ministers and leaders of the ruling dispensation and it was this system of collusion and crony-capitalism that was suffocating the local economy by cutting off credit to the unaffiliated, hardworking entrepreneur and depriving him of a fair and equal playing field.
“When it comes to an entrepreneur without any affiliation to the powers that be, he has to spend years in the vicious circle of the red-tape that has become a norm in our public institutions. On the contrary when it comes to the VIP list of businessmen and contractors supported by the Chief Minister and the political dispensation – our institutions bend their back backwards to extend every possible legitimate and illegitimate assistance and favour to them – most often than not in clear violation of laws, rules and merit. If the CM wants to patronize a system where entrepreneurs adding hundreds of jobs to our economy need to cower in fear and prostrate in front of officers and leaders of our financial institutions – then she should openly declare this State as an aristocratic oligarchy”, Mattu added.
“Mehbooba Ji has created a system where an entrepreneur’s worth is not defined by the financial fundamentals or value addition of his business to our economy but by the quality of his political ‘sifarish’ from Ministers and PDP leaders. For all the tall claims of the Finance Minister, he continues to be an accentuating factor in supporting an exclusive list of businessmen while being dismissive of those young first generation entrepreneurs who deserve nurturing, support and facilitation through a legitimate, objective approach,” he said.
“If the Finance Minister feels his three years as the Finance Minister of the State has left him cynical – as expressed by him recently, he should know that precise sentiment of disappointment and cynicism is shared by the State’s entrepreneurs and business community as they too have been left cynical due to his failure to convert his stentorian, starched rhetoric into a positive result. Our economy continues to shrink as thousands of small businesses and startups are at the verge of closure. One hopes against hope the Chief Minister contributes more than theatrics and photo-op events and devises economic initiatives to help our young entrepreneurs and not just a few business houses who are in collusion with her party and Ministers”, the NC Spokesperson added.
“Contracts in various departments worth crores have been handed out to proxies of the PDP and close associates of the Chief Minister and there are numerous well-substantiated complaints of some sort of a political filter being used at our financial institutions where our widows, destitute, pensioners and employees deposit every penny of their hard earned salaries and savings. The Government should stop this brazen crony capitalism forthwith and initiate an inquiry into these dealings which could quite possibly collectively amount to thousands of crores–from which kickbacks could have gone up to the highest echelons of power in this Government. I have met some entrepreneurs who have handed over tangible and shocking proofs of this collusion”, the NC State Spokesperson said in the statement.
(With inputs from KNS)